I am on a mission to find authentic Thai food since my trip back in January from Bangkok and Phuket. Having sampled lots of local fare, I now realise that most of the Thai food in Sydney is tweaked to a Western palate with lots of coconut milk and not enough spices. There is a tricky balance of sour, sweet, salty, hot and bitter is the key element to Thai cuisine.
Chat Thai has been a local Thai institution for a long while now and the scores of long queues should be enough to demonstrate their popularity. Their latest addition to the family is situation on level 6 of Westfield Centrepoint in Sydney CBD with the restaurant’s decor fairly posh compared to its Chinatown sister. Their food menu is quite similar to Chinatown but they have a bigger drinks selection with special cocktails.
The textural element of this dish is the reason why I keep on ordering this at every Thai restaurant I go to. I love the crunch of the peanuts with the papaya and snake beans with the little bursts of sweetness coming through the tomatoes. This salad is really refreshing to eat on a hot summer’s day.
The next picture doesn’t do the dish justice. The barramundi was filleted and fried, served with 2 types of garnishes: fried garlic and lemongrass salad. Delicate flesh of fish along with the freshness of the mint and lemongrass, makes me not feel as guilty eating fried fish! I love eating fried fish as a whole as it means I can crunch on the bones.
Thai food always lets the ingredients speak for themselves which is why I encountered a lot of dishes simply served grilled with a dipping sauce on the side. Grilling squid and serving it this way lets the natural sweetness of the squid shine through.
Char grilled beef, cucumber, chilli, tomatoes and coriander. Simple but yet amazing!
This was my least favourite dish. I love tom yum soups and everywhere we ate in Thailand, we would have to have a bowl. The tom yum soup I experienced was a very clear broth infused with lemongrass, galangal, limes and chilli. Even drinking it in the humidity, it was still refreshing. Chat Thai’s version was made with a dash of coconut milk which I find makes the soup slightly sweeter and it hides the bursts of flavour from the lemongrass.
I’m still on the hunt for the best Thai food in Sydney which transports me back to outdoor street eating with a Changi beer in hand. If you readers out there who know of such place, give me a shout!
Chat Thai Westfield
shop 6002, level 6
188 pitt st.
westfield centre point
tel 9221 0600